31 May 2009

Time...and Energy

Yesterday was a down day...not "down" like "Oh, I feel so sad and down", but down as in doing nothing/relaxing/foozling.

Having stayed up crazy late on Friday night I slept in ridiculously late yesterday, which is always weird for me because my actual preference is to head to bed early and be up relatively early. Sleeping in always leaves me feeling super groggy. Luckily it was a gorgeous day - just the kind of day that I wish we had all summer long - not quite 70 degrees, sunny with some poofy cottony looking clouds floating gently across the sky, and a cool breeze.

I spent the afternoon reading a book while laying in a lounge chair on our deck.


It occurred to me last evening that these kinds of down days are soon going to be a thing of the past and that Chris and I should take the time to enjoy them now before the arrival of the Little One.

"We're not going to have quiet days like these anymore once The Kid arrives," I say to Chris. He greets this statement with a wry grin.

(I've received loads of advice to the effect of, "Do everything that you like to do as an adult now because soon....")

While we do joke about this, one of the things that I do continue to worry about a bit as we move forward along the adoption path is my energy level. I have always been a person who needs "down time" - time to read a book - to watch a little TV - to just be quiet with my thoughts. I am an extroverted introvert who loves spending time with people and being very social, but regenerates best by myself. Once the Little One arrives I don't imagine that there will be much down time at all for me to regenerate. Chris is likewise a person who seems to need down time to regenerate so I imagine that parenting for us while maintaining our energy levels may pose some challenges.

How to make sure that we both have the time to regenerate?

Will we be too exhausted to parent effectively?

When we first starting talking about adoption I mentioned to Chris a few "must haves" for me to move forward as a parent. And the more I think about this the more I realize that one of those must haves is a little bit of down time each day. And I'm sure that he'll need that, too. So my thought is that we may need to be very intentional (as much as circumstances allow...) about the way we parent to allow for that little bit of time each day to regenerate.

One thing I've noticed about my wonderful husband is that he loves to read the news online in the mornings. And on Sundays the New York times (the "real" one...not the cyber version.) If we have to get up and get going on a weekend morning he's fine, but I notice that he is definitely more cheerful and happier throughout the day when he has had his time with the news in the morning. Once he's read the news he's perfectly happy to get going on house projects, errands, being social, whatever.

I'm the opposite - If I sit down on a weekend morning to read it's pretty much all over for me for the day. You'll find me hours later in the same spot with my book and I am loathe to get up to do anything else (see above for my description of spending the entire day on the deck!) If I get up and get going then I tend to be pretty "good to go" for a while throughout the day. This makes me think that when the Little One arrives that on the weekends I'll take The Morning Shift - getting The Kid up and out of the house for a while thus giving Chris time to foozle and read his news.

Since my energy tends to flag in the late afternoon and evening, I am hoping that Chris will take The Afternoon/Evening shift with the Little One thus giving me a little down time to regenerate.

This is probably a very overly optimistic picture of what life will be like on the weekends with the Little One. While we may have our plans and want to be very intentional with the way we parent...each kid is so different and I'm sure that every parent I know will tell me that the best laid plans will go very awry based on the whims and moods and needs of a particular kid. Still, I'd like to try intentional parenting as much as possible and to make and stick to plans as much as The Kid allows.

Today looks to be a bit grey outside. No lounging on the deck for me. And I probably ought to get up out of this chair very soon or Chris will find me a here hours later foozling around on the computer and getting very little else done...


  1. Dear wonderful-mom-to-be,

    While flexibility is the name of the game with parenting (and marriage too for that matter - and look how great you & Chris have done with that!) it's vital to be intentional about and committed to self-care. Good friends of mine who are excellent parents say that their secret is that they have always made time to take good care of themselves (for them this means exercise) and have a weekly date together. "If we're happy and our marriage is strong - the family is too," they told me. They've done this for 5+ years now through creative time management, child care support from family/friends and the help of a great babysitter. In others words, your Little One will certainly impact the way you and Chris live, but never forget that taking good care of yourselves will be taking good care of her.

    From a mom-who-learned-this-lesson-the-hard-way!


  2. At first (especially the first 4-5 months with a newborn), you can expect chaos and very little time to regenerate, or to sleep, for that matter. But remember everything changes, and soon enough (with diligence about setting routines) a schedule with emerge, and you will each be able to carve out the time you need. Perhaps not all the time you want, but certainly what you need.

  3. Oh, I forgot to mention a blog I urge you to visit and a book you should definitely get. The book is Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller, and the site is Cheerio Road (her blog).